Upping the Quality for Online Dissertation Students with Web Conferencing

  • As online doctoral programs become more common, the importance of face-to-face communications between online students and their dissertation advisors and committees increases.
  • Web conferencing between advisors and dissertation students allows for more thorough and efficient interactions and can thereby increase research quality.
  • Because they're possible anytime and anywhere, online conferences also offer more flexibility in scheduling meetings, no matter the location of the participants.

It is easy for online dissertation chairs and dissertation committee members to have face-to-face communications with their dissertation students using web conferencing. For dissertation students this means that complex and intricate aspects of their proposals and dissertations are more fully covered including areas such as methodological development, data analysis techniques, and Institutional Review Board application enhancements. Also dissertation student oral defense presentations and discussions are easily accomplished using web conferencing. For desktop and laptop computers as well as portable devices the more capable, the better. A microphone and camera are necessary, which are usually built in to most computers and devices. Broadband Internet connectivity is required. Several web conferencing software applications are available, inexpensive, and easy to install and use. Sessions are conducted just like normal on-ground meetings with the need for participant preparation, including a plan for the session, a quiet environment, and a well-lit room. The effectiveness and efficiency of face-to-face communications for online dissertation chairs, committee members, and dissertation students has the potential of increasing the quality of scholarly research as well as making the learning experience for the student much more fulfilling and rewarding.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Dr. Gerald Whilton Olivas
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
EDUCAUSE Review Online
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EDUCAUSE Review Online
Date Published: 
Monday, July 1, 2013
Place Published: 
Washington, DC 20037
Publication Language: 
ISSN Number: 
Jul 1 2013
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Accession Number: 
Jul 1 2013
Call Number: 
Jul 1 2013
Nancy Hays
Boyer's Domain: